Defending Your Skin Against Time


Aging is inevitable, but we are not powerless in the battle against skin aging. In this article, we will review the natural signs and contributors of skin aging and discuss the goals and preventative measures to take in defending your skin against time.


The skin is the largest organ in our body and acts as a barrier against physical, thermal and chemical injury. It helps to retain heat and moisture and allows us to interact with our environment as a sensory organ. To many of us, our skin is important to us simply because it reflects our vitality and health.


As we age and are exposed to various stressors, natural skin changes take place and we may notice:

  • Development of fine lines and/or deep wrinkles

  • Loss of elasticity and subcutaneous fat leading to thinner, sagging skin

  • Discoloration and age spots

  • Textural changes causing roughness and visible pores


Much of these changes are a consequence of[1]:

  • Increased physical, mental, emotional and physiological stressors (ie. inflammation, UV radiation, collagen breakdown, hormonal changes, nutrient deficiency)

  • Slower skin turnover leading to poor wound healing and reduced natural exfoliation

  • Reduced circulation to the skin surface leading to reduced skin hydration and nutrition

  • Reduced antioxidant capacity and increased oxidative stress

  • Loss of hydration and the poor ability to retain moisture


In order to support our skin health and defend against the cumulative effects of time and stress, our goals to supporting

skin health should include:

  • Reducing oxidative damage

  • Increasing circulation to the skin

  • Supporting collagen production

  • Lowering inflammation

  • Improving skin hydration

Lifestyle:

  • Limit exposure to damaging elements like sun exposure (learn more about sunscreens here), toxins (smoking, alcohol, parabens)[2], over-exfoliation whether it’s with mechanical scrubs or chemical exfoliants. Typically exfoliating 1-2 times per week will suffice.

  • Increase hydration both internal and external and avoid dehydrating factors like over-caffeinating. I personally enjoy using marula oil to moisturize topically as it doesn't feel greasy, clog pores and is rich in antixoxidants, omega 3 and omega 9 oils.

  • Reduce sugar and refined carbs that raise blood sugar and in the long term can cause insulin resistance leading to increased inflammation which contributes to oxidative stress, collagen breakdown and poor wound healing.

  • Get your beauty rest. Just like high blood sugar, sleep deficiency can increase inflammation and disrupt collagen synthesis causing skin to sag and wrinkle.

  • Exercise to promote sweating, lymphatic and blood circulation to enhance oxygenation and nutrient flow to the skin while also supporting lymphatic drainage and detoxification of the skin.

  • Encourage circulation through your skin with inexpensive, easy-to-do self-care treatments like dry skin brushing, alternating hot and cold showers, and facial cupping (a blog on the benefits and how-tos of facial cupping to follow, stay-tuned).

Supplements


Collagen powder

Collagen is the predominant compound in the extracellular matrix surrounding our cells and determines a large part of our skin physiology and health. Collagen works to maintain the structure and moisture of our skin to ensure that it stays smooth, supple and firm[3][4]. In a 2021 meta-analysis of over 19 studies involving over 1100 participants, oral collagen supplementation was shown to improve skin hydration, elasticity and wrinkles[5]. Learn more about collagen supplementation and its benefits here.


Vitamin A, C, E

Vitamin C taken orally helps to stabilize collagen, provide antioxidant protection and support wound healing. Vitamin A and its derivatives seem to have strong protective effects against UV damage[6] while vitamin E like vitamin C acts as a potent antioxidant in the skin and helps to prevent collagen breakdown. Topically vitamin E has been shown to be protective in sunburns and prevent UV damage and processes leading to skin cancer[7].


Omega 3 fatty acids

Fish oil has been shown to reduce age-related skin dryness and thinning and to reduce UV related inflammation[7]. It appears the main benefit of omega 3 fatty acids is its ability to reduce inflammation, maintain skin barrier, improve dry skin, support wound healing and reduce hyperpigmentation[8]


What are some of your favorite ways to defend your skin (or general health) against time? Looking for some anti-aging guidance specific to your health concerns? Get in touch and let's put together a comprehensive action plan to put-off Father Time together.


In health & wellness,





References:

  1. Cao C, Xiao Z, Wu Y, Ge C. Diet and Skin Aging—From the Perspective of Food Nutrition. Nutrients. 2020; 12(3):870. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12030870

  2. Landau M. Exogenous factors in skin aging. Curr Probl Dermatol. 2007;35:1-13. doi: 10.1159/000106405. PMID: 17641486.

  3. Bolke L, Schlippe G, Gerß J, Voss W. A Collagen Supplement Improves Skin Hydration, Elasticity, Roughness, and Density: Results of a Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Blind Study. Nutrients. 2019;11(10):2494. Published 2019 Oct 17. doi:10.3390/nu11102494

  4. Kim DU, Chung HC, Choi J, Sakai Y, Lee BY. Oral Intake of Low-Molecular-Weight Collagen Peptide Improves Hydration, Elasticity, and Wrinkling in Human Skin: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study. Nutrients. 2018 Jun 26;10(7):826. doi: 10.3390/nu10070826. PMID: 29949889; PMCID: PMC6073484.

  5. de Miranda RB, Weimer P, Rossi RC. Effects of hydrolyzed collagen supplementation on skin aging: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Int J Dermatol. 2021 Mar 20. doi: 10.1111/ijd.15518. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33742704

  6. Meinke MC, Friedrich A, Tscherch K, Haag SF, Darvin ME, Vollert H, Groth N, Lademann J, Rohn S. Influence of dietary carotenoids on radical scavenging capacity of the skin and skin lipids. Eur J Pharm Biopharm. 2013 Jun;84(2):365-73. doi: 10.1016/j.ejpb.2012.11.012. Epub 2012 Dec 13. PMID: 23246796.

  7. Schagen SK, Zampeli VA, Makrantonaki E, Zouboulis CC. Discovering the link between nutrition and skin aging. Dermatoendocrinol. 2012;4(3):298-307. doi:10.4161/derm.22876

  8. Huang TH, Wang PW, Yang SC, Chou WL, Fang JY. Cosmetic and Therapeutic Applications of Fish Oil's Fatty Acids on the Skin. Mar Drugs. 2018;16(8):256. Published 2018 Jul 30. doi:10.3390/md16080256

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